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2 Men Arrested After Simi Valley Police Detectives Uncover SoCal Theft Ring Targeting Home Depot Stores

SIMI VALLEY (CBSLA) — Detectives uncovered an alleged organized retail theft ring behind dozens of heists from Home Depot stores throughout Southern California, Simi Valley police announced Thursday.

Two people were arrested Tuesday in connection with a series of thefts at Home Depot stores across Southern California – 29-year-old Luis Delasancha of Anaheim and 45-year-old Prudencio Avelar-Lemus of Santa Ana, the alleged fence, both face charges of conspiracy, organized retail theft, and grand theft.

home depot retail theft
(credit: Simi Valley Police Department)

Simi Valley police say an investigation that started with the Nov. 8, 2021 theft of about $2,000 worth of tools from Home Depot, 575 Cochran St. in Simi Valley, led to the identification of two suspects who had been targeting Home Depot stores in Ventura, Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, and Riverside counties. The suspects behind these thefts are believed to responsible for approximately 25 thefts totaling more than $30,000.

The investigation, which was aided by a vehicle description and license plate taken from the Simi Valley theft, identified an Anaheim home and an alleged fence location in Santa Ana believed to be involved in the thefts. Delasancha was arrested at the Anaheim home, where a small number of the suspected stolen tools and narcotics were found. Detectives found much more at the alleged fence location in Santa Ana – more than 3,700 stolen electric saws, table saws, drills, tool kits, and bottles of laundry detergent – with an approximate value of $341,000.

Delasancha is being held on $25,000 bail, but a court date has not yet been set in his case. Avelar-Lemus was released Wednesday after posting bail, and is scheduled to appear in court on March 9.

Delasancha's brother, Jose Delasancha, is wanted in connection with the thefts, but is not considered a threat to the public, police said.

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